When Others Resist Your Change…

by Dan on July 18, 2009

twilight

There’s a moment at twilight where affections are shared and truths are revealed.

Ricardo lay on his college twin bed next to Ophelia, as both rested from a night of excitement, fun, and friendship. They had enjoyed a poignant movie, some dancing, and drinking with friends. During her weekend visit to Ricardo’s college, it was tacitly known by both that Ricardo was in love with her, that her exquisite beauty moved him, and that she had never shown any intention of returning the affections. She was dating two other men at the time, ones she didn’t even really like, but never Ricardo.

Still, all of that context could not take away the breathless moment as they lay down in each other’s warmth as the night slowly turned into day. Just before falling asleep, Ophelia whispered into his ear, “Don’t change, Ricardo. Don’t change. No matter what anyone says, you’re perfect as you are.” They fell asleep.

Is there a lesson in this little story? Not one you could know by that night alone. You would have to know that Ricardo never won Ophelia’s romantic affections in the years that followed. You would have to know Ricardo was a virgin at the time, and had not kissed a girl more than once or twice at this point. You would also have to know that it wasn’t until Ricardo decided to change himself for the better that he began to win women’s affections regularly and be happy with himself.

What Ophelia said wasn’t a lie, and wasn’t with bad intentions. She spoke for herself. When she looked at him as her own platonic friend, source of feminine pride, and human pillow, he was 100% perfect. She may have even believed he’d be perfect for another girl as well, just not herself.

Either way, her preferences were not only meaningless to Ricardo’s benefit, but downright harmful if he chose to make them his own.

Be wary when someone attempts to still your winds of change. It is never for you, even if they love you with all their heart. It is for their own sense of security and control of the world around them, which includes you, if you see them regularly. This is not unforgivably selfish on their part, because this is the nature of man as a whole. However, their desire is selfish enough that you would do best to ignore this wish every time it presents itself.

I’ve grown a lot spiritually and emotionally in the past few months, and sometimes there’s some friction with friends who have known me a while. My good buddy and I shared an employer for a long time and we had a great time making fun of our boss behind his back. Even after we had both left the company we’d make joke after joke about what a loser he was.

At some point I realized that, as gratifying as this humor was, it was an obstacle to my enlightenment, and I let it go. It was a bit awkward at first, as I declined to laugh at previously cherished humor. He said, “I miss the old Dan, where is he?” It was clear it wasn’t as fun for him to talk to me anymore, which was a little saddening.

However, I accepted that if even if it cost my friendship with him, I would be a fool to go back into bad habits. Eventually the friction sorted itself out and we’re getting along and laughing together just fine. He even admitted later that his complaint was tantamount to an obese girl saying to her dieting friend “Who am I going to eat Taco bell with and bitch to about not getting dates to?”

It’s a similar motive with everyone in your life, even with your parents. When your parents tell you to change something, they say they’re doing it for you, but in the end it’s never about that, even if they sincerely believe it. Your parents miss protecting you, giving you loving advice, and guiding you to become an adult. This may be hard to accept, but after a certain point in your life, whether its age 18, 25, or 32, your parents are no more qualified to give you advice than the average adult in the same income bracket. Your parents may never accept this themselves, but it doesn’t mean you have to live the lie or even pretend you do.

Let no one still your winds of change.

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